Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Hot Cross Scones (gluten free) for #FreeFromEaster

I am SO excited to share these with you. After the huge success of my Best Ever Gluten Free Scones last summer, I have created a special Easter version..... I introduce to you my gluten free Hot Cross Scones. Aren't they fab?

For those of you that follow Gluten Free Alchemist regularly, you will know that back in 2017, I joined forces with an amazingly talented group of free from bloggers who, between us, cover pretty much all and every food intolerance and allergy. Every month or two, we pull together our collective wisdom and share seasonally-themed recipes.

Last year's batch of Easter-themed goodies was so successful, that we have decided to bring you more #FreeFromEaster treats for 2018. Be sure to check out the blog links below for Easter free from foodie inspiration..... We've got you covered!

Usually I would head straight for chocolate and/or cake when I think of Easter baking, but to be honest, I am a bit caked-out at the moment and as for Creme Eggs, Golden Eggs and Mini Eggs..... well..... they already feature quite a lot on Gluten Free Alchemist. So this year, I have decided to head down a different route.

I did think about making more Hot Cross Buns (I already have a lovely selection on the blog.... There's Almond, Cherry, Apricot and Marzipan..... Apple, Cherry and Sultana..... Choc Cross Buns..... and even Chocolate Bread Pudding made with leftover buns!)...... Maybe with some random, newly inspired flavour combo..... but I have been so exhausted lately, I simply couldn't be bothered with the long rise and bake process.

Then last weekend, I had one of those light bulb moments..... My overactive, sleepless, foodie brain combined a fancy for scones with the flavours of Easter and bingo!.... the gluten free Hot Cross Scone was born.

And that's basically it! It does what it says 'on the tin'..... Tastes just like the yummiest of seasonal Hot Cross Buns, but in scone form..... Stuffed with plump juicy Turkish sultanas and beautiful shiny golden raisins...... Laced with seasonal cinnamon and mixed spice...... Slightly sweetened with a hint of caramel-rich brown sugar...... All topped with a traditional piped cross and brown sugar glaze. Gluten free Easter doesn't get better than this!

For those of you struggling to find a fail-safe gluten free scone recipe, look no further. My Hot Cross Scones are a straight adaptation from my Best Ever Gluten Free Scones which have not let me down yet. Made with a blend of rice-free flours, a little ground almond and moistened with buttermilk, they are not in the slightest bit dry or crumbly, and rival any glutenous version.

They are well-risen, of perfect crumb and are soft, moist and light....... and best of all, they are really easy to make. As with all glutenous scones, they are freshest eaten on the day they are made,....... but unlike many gluten free scones, they are also still soft and good to eat for a couple of days after. I am not one to blow my own trumpet too often, but these are seriously good.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some ingredients, don your pinnie and get baking!

Other 2018 #FreeFromEaster recipes from the amazing Free From Gang
Supersize Vegan Creme Egg - Rebecca at Glutarama
Mini Egg Brownies - Chloe at Just The Three Of Us
Super Simple Easter Smoothie Pops - Carly at Faceprint & Flavour
20 Delicious Gluten Free Easter Cakes - Jenna at A Balanced Belly
Gluten Free Mini Egg Cookies - Sarah at Gluten Free Blogger

On their way.....
Vicki at Free From Fairy
Midge at Peachicks Bakery
Emma at Free From Farmhouse
Nathalie at The Intolerant Gourmand

Other gluten free Easter recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist 
Almond, Cherry, Apricot and Marzipan Hot Cross Buns 
Apple, Cherry and Sultana Hot Cross Buns
Choc Cross Buns
Chocolate Bread Pudding with leftover Choc Cross Buns
Rich Mocha Easter Cake
No Bake Creme Egg Biscuit Cake
Easter Creme Egg Mousse Cake
Egg Pops
Rich and Chocolatey Golden Egg Cake
Creme Egg Cup Cakes
Chocolate Cupcakes for Easter
Chocolate Bundt with Golden Eggs
Blackcurrant Flower Biscuits
Scotch Eggs 

Hot Cross Scones


320g plain gluten free, rice free flour blend (blend from this post, or if you don't want to mix your own, you could try the Free From Fairy brand (link in sidebar) or an alternative blend)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
50g ground almonds
1 tablespoon GF baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
90g unsalted butter - cold and cubed
35g soft light brown sugar
finely grated zest 1 orange
80g golden raisins
80g Turkish sultanas
1 large egg - lightly beaten
1 pot (284 ml) buttermilk

1 egg beaten with a little milk

piped crosses
50g plain GF flour blend (I used 20g tapioca flour; 15g potato flour; 15g sorghum flour)
1 tablespoon icing sugar
40 to 50 ml cold water

sugar glaze
1½ tablespoons soft light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water


  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and set aside. 
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and spice until well-blended (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
  4. Add the sugar, orange zest, sultanas and raisins and stir through.
  5. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg and buttermilk. 
  6. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix the wet ingredients into the dry, until it clumps together and continue to mix, until it comes together as a very sticky dough. If it looks like the dough is too dry, then add a little milk. 
  7. Lay a large piece of baking paper on the work surface and sprinkle liberally with gluten free flour/tapioca flour. 
  8. Flour your hands well and gently bring the dough together. It should be quite wet.
  9. Tip the dough out onto the floured baking paper, sprinkle a little more flour on the top and gently roll out the dough to a depth of about 4 cm.
  10. Use a medium to large round/fluted cookie cutter to cut rounds from the dough and carefully transfer them to the lined baking sheets.
  11. Bring any remaining dough gently together (trying not to over-work) and repeat the rolling and cutting process, until all the dough has been used and transferred to the baking sheets.
  12. Brush the top of each scone with egg-wash.
  13. Mix together the flour and icing sugar for the piped crosses and add the water, stirring through, a little at a time until you have a very thick, but not stiff paste.
  14. Use a piping bag or squeezy sauce bottle to pipe crosses onto the top of each scone.
  15. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until well-risen, firm and golden.
  16. Remove from the oven and whilst still hot, mix together the brown sugar and water for the glaze, heat gently in a saucepan or microwave until the sugar has dissolved and brush the glaze over each scone.
  17. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool. 
  18. Eat warm or cold, with a spread of butter. 
  19. Store the scones in an airtight container for 2 to 4 days if necessary (and if they become less soft, 'refresh' with a few seconds in the microwave). 

I am sharing my Hot Cross Scones with the following :

Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins

Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Got 2 Be Gluten Free with myself and Glutarama

Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse 

Fiesta Friday #215 with Angie, Laurena at Life Diet Health and Alex at Turks Who Eat

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello & Mummy Mishaps

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Best Gluten Free Vanilla Sponge - #G2BGF

This Vanilla Sponge is a perfect all-round bake for celebration cakes. It is the result of a long line of Gluten Free Alchemist test cakes that I made, attempting to get the best texture and crumb to be decorated, stacked, cut, poked and prodded, yet stay soft, moist and delicious. With the amount of testing I have done, I am happy to call it my BEST Vanilla Sponge.

It started its journey back in November after I was asked to make an 18th birthday cake for the daughter of a dear friend of mine. Wanting the design to remain firmly in their control, I left the decisions about flavour and style completely to them..... but after they requested a vanilla sponge, I realised I didn't have one which was suitable to the task at hand (three layers, filled with jam and butter cream and covered in vanilla buttercream roses).

I was quite surprised that there wasn't already one on the blog, but I seem to be a chocolate birthday cake girl! The situation needed rectifying..... quick...... so I developed a base recipe and then set to work, tweaking and playing with it until I was happy with the weight, moistness, texture and crumb.

The proof of the pudding of course, is in the eating and I am happy to report that the cake was a success with all who ate it...... Good job, because I have a 60th wedding anniversary cake to make in April.....

Although I developed this sponge for a celebratory birthday cake, the same cake would be perfect as a special Mother's Day treat... I have only included the sponge recipe below, but you can fill and decorate with jam, buttercream, ganache or anything else you choose. If you would like to cover in buttercream roses, there is a really helpful tutorial for piping roses here.

I managed to get plenty of photos of the original rose-covered cake before it was delivered to the birthday girl, but it was not possible to get any photos of the sponge that would properly show the crumb.

I will be honest, it is a bit of a bug-bear of mine when I see a gluten free cake recipe on the internet with no photo of the inside...... So many gluten free cakes are either really dry or quite stodgy and tight, so I like to be able to see what I am getting, or the recipe get's side-lined.

To avoid the criticism of pots and black kettles, I 'forced' myself to make another cake and eat it in the interests of letting you see the sponge. Life can be pretty hard sometimes. Perfectly risen, soft and full of aromatic vanilla, I can verify this sponge is amazingly good.

Whilst I have your ear (or is it your eye?), I would also like to give a HUGE shout out to my lovely blogging friend Rebecca over at Glutarama. If you read my Amaretti Cookie post, you will know that 2018 did not start well for me as I sadly (and quite unexpectedly) lost my mother. Rebecca has been an incredible friend not only for checking in on me whilst I am going through a really difficult time, but also because she has been a total star in covering my absence from my planned joint hosting of our Got To Be Gluten Free #G2BGF linky. I had enthusiastically agreed, just before Christmas, to pair up with Rebecca in this adventure and feel like I have been totally useless since. As soon as I am back on track, I will be a full part of the party..... I promise!

In the mean time, if you have any gluten free goodies you can link up, we would LOVE you to join us over at Glutarama.

I am sharing my Gluten Free Alchemist Best Vanilla Sponge with :

Got To Be Gluten Free #G2BGF with Glutarama (Who is doing a stirling job of holding the fort whilst I am trying to get myself back on track after much recent upheaval.... Thank you SO much Rebecca)

Love Cake with Jibber Jabber

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse

Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps

Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Fiesta Friday #213

The Best Vanilla Sponge (makes 1 x 9 inch (23 cm) sandwich cake)


320g plain GF flour blend (I used blend A from this post)
160g ground almonds
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
330 ml (g) milk
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
170g unsalted butter - softened
360g caster sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs - room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and base-line two 9 inch (23 cm) round non-stick baking tins with baking paper.
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure the ingredients are fully combined and all lumps are broken down (I weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside.
  3. In a jug, stir together the milk and vinegar and leave to stand for 10 minutes (it will become clumpy).
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar with a whisk until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add and beat in the vanilla extract.
  6. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat together with a fork to break up the egg. Add a little at a time to the butter mixture, beating thoroughly between each addition until smooth.
  7. Finally alternate folding in the liquid and flour mix to the batter about a third at a time, gently and quickly until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
  8. Divide the mixture between the two baking tins and smooth the tops.
  9. Bake for approx 30 minutes until golden and the top springs back to the touch.  
  10. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated